George Chapman was a 17th, Century English Poet who translated the work of the Greek Poet Homer into English. Keats read Chapman’s Homer through in one night and by next morning had finished writing this sonnet. In the octave he compares the works of Homer and other poets to countries; in the sestet he tells us that reading Homer for the first time was an exciting as discovering a new planet or Ocean. These comparisons suggest the noble beauty of Homer’s poems- they are wide and deep like the sea, and high and clear like the planet.
He had travelled and had read many poems, in the realms of gold; rich countries: the realms, states, kingdoms, and islands all symbolized the writings of different poets. He had seen many goodly states and kingdoms. In and around many western islands he had been which bards in fealty; History/Historical: fidelity to a lord: the obligation or the engagement to be faithful to a lord, usually sworn to by a vassal: fidelity; faithfulness; to Apollo hold; bards are poets: Apollo was the Greek God of Poetry, and therefore the lord of the bards: to receive and hold land from a lord, as knights did in the Middle Ages.
Often times at every wide expanse, the speaker had been told of that deep-brow’d; having a high forehead that is wise; Homer ruled as his demesne; the land of a lord; yet he never breathed his pure serene; pure clear air: Keats did not know Homer till he read Chapman’s translation.
For the first time the speaker felt like a watcher of the skies, when a new planet swims; moves smoothly as the telescope turns; into his ken; view; or like stout; brave; Cortez; The Spanish leader who conquered Mexico in 1519-21: Keats made a mistake here: another Spaniard, Balboa, discovered The Pacific Ocean by crossing the Isthmus of Panama (also called Darien) a few years before Cortez marched: the Pacific is the largest and deepest Ocean. Cortez stared at the Pacific with eagle’s eyes; very clear and keen eyes like those of an eagle; and all his men looked at each other with a wild surmise; to think or infer without certain or strong evidence; conjecture; guess: to conjecture or guess: a matter of conjecture: an idea or thought of something as being possible or likely: a conjecture or opinion. They became silent by the time they reached the highest peak in Darien.